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povorot's avatar

Hopper Sketches

Some sketches of the hopper, both in color and b&w. Two versions of hoppers using a mortar and pestle.

I was thinking a lot about the types of 'clothing' the hoppers would wear - or even need. I ended up poking around, looking at the types of harnesses subsaharan africans put on their camels. I was thinking of having some of these guys as 'native porters' for a character, so I wanted to have the designs all ready.
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© 2009 - 2021 povorot
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nemo-ramjet's avatar
Quadruple wow! The way you can make your aliens into completely believable noble savages never ceases to astound me. A question - do these and the trilaterlally symmetric "amphora" aliens belong in the same universe?

Are these things on a different planet, or a massively alternate Earth?
SomethingmadebyMe's avatar
Looks like a shrimp....a very big shrimp.....
povorot's avatar
These fellas are space aliens, along with the trilaterally symmetrical Amphorae (which kind of works, as a name...)

I'm trying to write a sci-fi story with a kind of western/frontier feel to it, and I keep flip-flopping between which alien species I want to play the role of aboriginals - the hoppers, or the squids/amphorans. I like the dynamics created by having sophonts considerably larger then humans, but the animalistic (to earth eyes) qualities of the hopper would also result in some very interesting tensions and culture shocks...
ART5EC's avatar
Apparently I'm seven years late to this comment, but I had an idea to throw in there. I've noticed that you seem to have a lot of aliens set in this same western-ish planet, so why not have them all there at once? Why decide on only one when you could throw them all into the mix and work that dynamic into the story? The hoppers could be primitive natives on a planet that's a kind of open port out on the wild frontier. Perhaps the planet is rich in rare earth minerals that has attracted prospectors from many species hoping to find their fortune, or maybe it's the only habitable planet in the area and has become a sort of boom town for people looking to get rich on some kind of Helium-3 Rush in the local star cluster. And perhaps not all the species are there for the same reason: maybe the amphorans there are colonists seeking to reclaim a simpler, more traditional lifestyle some would call primitive and escape the hustle and bustle of their more contemporary, modern homeworld. There are many compelling reasons they might do this: they could be adherents to a sort of Amish-like religious belief demanding they live as their ancient ancestors, or maybe their refugees from a traditional tribal culture seeking to rebuild their lifestyle on a new world after their ancestral lands on their homeworld were encroached upon and they were forced from it. They could even be the descendants of colonists or castaways that the native hoppers took pity on and taught their survival skills to.

Any of these could add interesting points of conflict to the story, depending on how you integrated them all into the setting. Alien encroachment on the hopper homeworld could lead to tensions between aliens and hopper, or even hopper and hopper as some see more opportunity in interacting with the aliens rather than fighting them off as invaders. Depending on how you treat the amphorans they may be welcome allies against the aliens by the hoppers, or seen as interlopers who are just as unwelcome as the rest even if they are fighting for the hopper's right to their homeworld. Anyways, these were just some thoughts I had, and I had fun thinking about it regardless of what you choose to do with my two cents.
povorot's avatar
Man this is all good! I appreciate you putting the thought into it - and a few align with thought's i've been having about the matter. For example, i was thinking of the amphorans as recent primitives - but instead of voluntarily going that away, i was imagining them as a relict population from an interstellar civilization that died out or transcended long, long ago. But maybe having it a big shmorgasbord of aliens is the way to go...
Thanks for the hearty, hearty comment!
ART5EC's avatar
Haha, you're quite welcome!
labgnome's avatar
I must say I like the idea. You seem to be going with the "apes and angels" argument for alien intelligences. Any species we encounter are likely to either be so far behind us to seem like "cave-men" or chimpanzees compared with our own technology at the time or so advanced to seem godlike in comparison.

Witch, conversely are you also planning on including as well? Someone as far ahead of the humans as they are to the currently "primitive" species they are encountering?

When I first saw the hopper I had started thinking bout how cool it would look with the Dinosauroids, but having it with humans

You could have both, and have their relations be different for various reasons, from the "temperament" of the aliens themselves to just who and/or why the humans have come to their planet. One species could get along with the humans relatively well, and the other could be more "antagonistic". They could also have different things the want from the humans.

Example: the hoppers might want weapons and the amphora might want narcotics on the negative end, but conversely the hoppers might be uninterested in getting narcotics and the amphora uninterested in weapons. The Hoppers might be interested in getting things like education or medicine, in return for whatever it is the humans want, but the amphora are uninterested in those things and are more interested in technological "trinkets" like computers and cellphones or whatever the current equivalents are.

On the disliking humans end, the hoppers might be territorial and not want to share territory with humans and the amphora on the other hand might not care about territory but be more agitated by cultural slights like the perceived desecration of objects of veneration.

You don't need direct analogies to groups here on Earth, and can and should feel free to make up your own interactions between them and humans. You can even have a planet where things do in fact go swimmingly between the humans and aliens because the particular humans did in fact learn the lessons of our history and were able to successfully apply them to a new species.
nemo-ramjet's avatar
Are the Hoppers and Amphorans on one planet, or two different ones?
povorot's avatar
Two different ones, for sure.
souhjiro's avatar
or both as species on different borders of a broad expansionist human sphere across space?
povorot's avatar
That's kind of what I'm going for, I think.
zombieslayerjjj's avatar
The hoppers are, right now, one of my favorite sophont races of all of my buddies that I watch. I love how they look alien, but still plausible. Some people go too terrestrial (I admittedly do, though only so that they are easier to cast as characters in stories and such), while others just try to make it as un-earth like as possible, thus making it ridiculous. Keep up the good work.
povorot's avatar
Thanks, man. I've been enjoying designing them.
The key, it seems, is definitely to think in unearthly terms, but with a consistent biology underlying it. Thinking about evolutionary history, reasons driving the development of intelligence, etc, make for the most believable aliens.
bensen-daniel's avatar
Something about the tentacle coiled around the top of the mortar doesn't look natural too me. What if the hopper held the mortar by a long handle between two tentacles, then slid the tentacles past each other, back and forth (like a person rubbing their hands together). Then you might get something like a firebow, which might be easier for them to hold on to and use.
povorot's avatar
I kinda like that. Tentacles as manipulators have been surprisingly difficult to design cultural accouterments for.
bensen-daniel's avatar
it strikes me that the toys marine biologists make for octopus behavior studies might be a good place to start.
frazamm's avatar
Typo!: You know I mean Jan's Atomic Heart.
frazamm's avatar
Looking forward to the comic. If it is anything as good as Jan's Atomic Hear I know I'm in for a treat.
povorot's avatar
Thanks, man. I just gotta get down and actually make it, now.
Social-Animal's avatar
I cannot fucking wait for this comic. Your sophonts are superior
povorot's avatar
Giggarex's avatar
I like how detailed you made these. I feel as though I can reach out and touch the fuzz on its leg and get the feeling of a hairy spider like creature on my hand. The colors I like, the bright brown gives of viberance of life but keeps it realistic and almost more "down to earth" per say in feel of how sapient creatures normally are superior to humans in everyway.
povorot's avatar
Thanks, man. It's all about subtlety - the touch of color, as opposed to the full spectrum.
M0AI's avatar
The words that flashed into my head as I looked at this, in probable order: mantis shrimp, Native American, camel, Gomphothere. Brilliant work, once again. I'm quickly coming to looking forward to your deviations more than almost any other.

Given that these guys are quadrupeds, I bet many humans (particularly the more ignorant ones), tend to think of them as animals, rather than sentient beings.
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